West drafts weakened Iran sanctions

Russia, China oppose full banking embargo; Russia also opposes weapons embargo.

March 7, 2010 03:54
2 minute read.
The United Nations Security Council (AP).

UNSC 311. (photo credit: AP)


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Western countries, under pressure by Russia and China, drafted a blueprint for a fourth round of sanctions against Iran which would not tighten the ban on trade between Western banks and the Central Bank of Iran (CBI), Israel Radio reported overnight Friday.

Diplomats at the United Nations were quoted as saying that the United States, Britain, France and Germany accepted Russia’s proposal that the West only ban trading with newly-established Iranian banks, and not increase existing trade limitations with the CBI. China holds a position similar to Russia’s.

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The new UN draft for sanctions against Iran would not put the Islamic republic in a black list of countries obligating all member states to avoid trade with the country, but does allow smaller entities, like the US or the entire bloc of European Union member countries, to implement their own sanctions.

Russia proposed that oversight on trade with Iran be made according to a similar model over current global trade with North Korea.

Additionally, Russia opposes a full weapons embargo against Iran.

A Moscow official was quoted by Israel Radio as saying that the deal to supply Iran with the S-300 anti-missile defense system would go ahead. During a recent visit by Prime Minister Binyamin Netanyahu to the country, Moscow promised not to implement a deal to sell the system after Netanyahu convinced the Russians that such a move would destabilize the region.

The S-300 is considered the best system of its kind today and can engage multiple targets at once.

Israel views Iranian deployment of the system as a serious obstacle to any potential aerial attack on Iran’s nuclear facilities.

Although the arms deal was signed several years ago, it has yet to be implemented. However, a prominent Israeli Iran expert, Dr. Ronen Bergman, has assessed that Iran has already been supplied with the system and has deployed it.

The US, France and Germany would have the UN Security Council discuss the new drafts in the coming weeks, but the implementation of new sanctions may take several months, US Secretary of State Hillary Clinton said.

Meanwhile, President Mahmoud Ahmadinejad has again questioned the official version of the September 11 attacks in the US, calling it a “big lie” used as an excuse to invade Afghanistan and Iraq.

Iranian state television quoted Ahmadinejad on Saturday as saying the 2001 attacks were an “intelligence scenario and act.” Ahmadinejad has questioned the official US version several times about who was behind the attacks and how it happened.

In 2007, Ahmadinejad said the Sept. 11 attacks were “a result of mismanaging and inhumane managing of the world by the US.” He said Washington was using them as an excuse to invade other countries.

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